Angela's short, hilariously pathetic stint as a radio DJ

Life on Mars by Dexter Wansel

The song in the above YouTube video was the intro and exit music to the one hour radio show that I nervously put together for Cosumnes River College when I was taking broadcast communications classes there from 1976 to 1978. (By the looks of it, CRC's broadcasting program has upgraded considerably!)  I happened to see the song on YouTube and laughed out loud as the memories came flooding back. Dexter Wansel's song was the best part of my show. The rest of it was a mess; I was so flustered that I could barely cue up the records that I had on my playlist. It wasn't the first time I was in a radio broadcasting booth, though. I managed to wander into to the student-run station at Bates Technical School in Tacoma, Washington when I was still a student at Baker Junior High School (now "Middle" school, and good Lord, the principal looks young enough to be one of my son's friends!) I have no idea what I was doing at Bates because I was way too young for their program. I just walked in one day and started bugging the disc jockeys, who humored the crazy teenaged Black girl who asked them a bunch of irrelevant questions while they were trying to cue up the records for their shows. My favorite DJ was a guy named "Wildman" Ron Thomas. He always smiled and talked to me. It was a waste of effort on my part, though. Our family moved back to Sacramento a few months after I finished the ninth grade, so Bates was never to be part of my future.

Subconciously, I think I was trying to fulfill my mother's lost dream of a radio broadcasting career, something that I talked about in a previous blog. Unlike my mother, who was never nervous behind the mike, I sucked. It's a good thing there are no recordings of my show, at least I hope not. I stumbled over my words, knocked the needle across the records (rrrrrrrrrippp), and hit my head on the microphone more than a couple times. That killed my radio career aspirations right there. Fortunately, the broadcast only reached the school's cafeteria, and our instructor joked that a light bulb had more watts than our broadcast antennae, which we lovingly called "The Coat Hanger".

It didn't really matter, though. Most of the folks hanging out in the cafeteria were too loaded to listen to the student DJs making absolute fools of themselves on the air. Yes, I said it: they were LOADED, higher than the planes flying overhead from Sacramento Executive Airport. Come on, folks. It was the 70s; what do you think they were doing between classes? Studying? My friends and I did that studying thing (and I have the honor roll grades on my transcript to prove it), and we stayed away from the cafeteria as much as possible. Now that I think about it, we didn't even have a cafeteria. Cosumnes River College opened in 1976, and many of the buildings weren't finished yet. The cafeteria was a portable, where they heated up some pre-made... whatever that was. I loved to eat so much back then (in secret, of course) that I now qualify as a gutter level food addict, but I only ate THAT "food" once. That was enough. But the stoners seemed to like it. And no, I didn't indulge in their favorite pastime. Food worked well for me back then.

An aside: It's interesting that I would be so attracted to a song titled "Life on Mars". My astrological sun and Mercury are in Aries, which is ruled by the planet Mars. I didn't know that back then, though. Astrology was a hippie thing, as far as I was concerned. Another fact: Mars rules another astrological sign, Scorpio (although some say it will be eventually ruled by Pluto). I won't get into what the astrology tomes say about Aries folks mixing with Scorpios. Most of it ain't nice.

Anway, I think it was a wise decision on my part to switch to English when I transferred to Sac State in 1978. The best things I can say about my semester behind the microphone are as follows: a) my friends Kim and Veronica cared enough to hang out in the port-a-cafe to listen to my show on Fridays, then lie to me about how good I was; b) I didn't make any of the equipment overheat and burn up; c) my brother never got to hear the show because he would have had endless jokes about it; d) Dexter Wansel's "Life On Mars" opened and closed my fairly lame hour on the air. As I said in the comments section on YouTube, "Thank you, Mr. Wansel."

SUPPORT REAL MUSIC! BUY DEXTER WANSEL AND OTHER R&B ARTISTS' MUSIC FROM iTunes or Amazon! I'm so tired of this over-produced, no talent, auto-tuned mess that I could scream from top of the Oakland Hills so loud that the folks in San Fran would hear it!

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